Concerns rise as Palestinian Authority mulls cancelling election

Jerusalem is worried that if Ramallah cancels the vote, it might agitate the security situation in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

Lilach Shoval-Israel Hayom ,

PA chief Mahmoud Abbas
PA chief Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian Authority is considering canceling its parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 22, and Israel is concerned that it might agitate the security situation in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, especially if the Jewish state gets blamed for it.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly been considering canceling the vote over the reasonable chance that Hamas, the terrorist group that wrestled control of Gaza from Abbas' Fatah party in a military coup in 2006, will win and form a government led by his rival, Mohammed Dahlan.

The latter, once a Fatah strongman who was exiled over challenging Abbas, is said to now be "close" with Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' leader in Gaza.

If the terrorist organization wins the election, Israel has vowed to end its security coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority-Hamas election saga began a few months ago when Abbas called parliamentary and presidential elections across the territories for the first time in 15 years.

However, internal fighting within Fatah prompted the faction to present three separate slates ahead of the election, while Hamas presented a unified list that included several prominent names.

Abbas is now looking for an excuse to cancel the election, one of which could be that Israel does not seem likely to permit voting in eastern Jerusalem.

Israel has officially stated that it will not interfere with PA-Hamas elections, but according to Israeli officials privy to closed-door security discussions, nixing the PA elections would be in Israel's interest.

If the PA does go ahead with the election, Israel is unlikely to allow for voting to take place in eastern Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi visited Ramallah on Thursday. Jordanian sources confirmed that the kingdom is concerned that a Hamas victory in the election will also strengthen the position of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.

The kingdom had previously sent a delegation to Muqata to try and pressure Abbas to cancel the elections.

Palestinian Authority Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a recent interview with Voice of Palestine radio, that the elections would be held on time, in about a month, and that the PA was holding talks with European countries in an attempt to pressure Israel to allow voting in east Jerusalem.